- Created on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 12:08
- Written by James
We've recently had a couple of emails regarding our products' country of manufacture: Alex from Russia writes:
Hi! I have received my Powerstation but I'm not sure about its quality, because it is made in China! It is a quality product?Sensing a worry or pre-formed notion of goods made in China, I thought I'd post a summary of our thoughts on the matter:
We manufacture in China; for a number of good reasons. Until the end of 2008, we used a flight case manufacturing company to manufacture our pedal boards under contract. They made late deliveries, had poor quality, components being changed without agreement etc. Eventually the quality got so inconsistent that I pulled the plug on them and looked elsewhere. No-one in the UK was interested in making around 150 pedal boards a month. So I contacted a Chinese CNC machining company that I had used in my previous life as a mechanical design engineer. They contacted some of their friends/associates with wood working facilities, arranged meetings and I jumped on a flight to China to visit them. We visited 5 factories, asking each to prepare a sample to our design and specification in advance. Three of the five samples were total rubbish. The remaining two were the opposite with fantastic quality and finish. I chose the one who seemed to be the easiest to work with and who had the better factory. I had the same issues with sourcing a manufacturer for the Powerstation. I couldn't find a switch mode power supply factory for the Powerstation in the UK or Europe. All factories for non-industrial power supplies of this type are in the Far East. There are innumerable other benefits too. UK manufacturers don't tend to want to make a finished product. Injection moulders will sell us injection mouldings. PCB populators will do just that. Packaging manufacturers will make and supply packaging. In China, we can send our samples, mechanical, electronic and packaging designs across, and they will willingly manufacture and supply a finished product to our specifications, negotiating with all the necessary sub-suppliers and managing the whole process. Now that we sell worldwide - from the USA to Australia, it makes no more sense for the manufacturing and shipping location to be the UK than anywhere else. We don't do it because the price is cheaper; the ex-works price for the pedal boards in China is about 25% less than we were getting in the UK, but when you factor in shipping costs, there's negligible difference. The difference now is that we get stuff on time, the quality is fantastic and problems are minimal. If you want rubbish at a cheap price, you can have that. If you want good quality you can have that too, just at a higher price. China is producing 600,000 engineering graduates a year, and they're just as capable as we are in the West. Compare that with US figures of 70,000 engineering graduates per year and 25,000 from the UK. From the outset, it has been easier and much more productive to work with our Chinese manufacturers than UK ones. The factories that we work with do what they say they will, and on time to amazing quality. We don't have much choice to do it any other way. No wonder UK manufacturing is going down the pan.